Decades of experience haven't been enough to satisfy Rod Nuckolls' craving.
Golf can be addictive, keeping players such as Nuckolls hooked on the rush of hitting a perfect shot and learning every nuance of the game.
"You can never master the game," said Nuckolls, the director of golf at Willowbend Golf Club. "That's what I love about it. Every day it's a new challenge out there. It's never dull. It's always interesting to see how you handle the challenges of that day."
Today's challenge for Nuckolls is at the U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash.
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Nuckolls, 53, qualified for his second Senior Open by winning a sectional July 3 at Willowbend. This marks the second Champions Tour major of the year for Nuckolls, who missed the cut at the Senior PGA Championship in May.
"It's going to be an experience just to get to play in it," Nuckolls said.
Another experience for him to add to a lifetime of achievements.
Nuckolls won a state championship in high school and was an All-American at Wichita State in 1980. He played on the PGA Tour for almost five years and has played in a handful of majors. He coached at his alma mater, and now co-owns a golf course with his brother, Rick.
"I've had accomplishments, but you always want to do better and do more," Nuckolls said. "That's the beauty of golf; that's what makes it so fun and exciting. You want to push yourself and see if you can compete."
His accomplishments have helped add perspective.
"He has as much respect for the maintenance crew as for the pro standing behind the desk," his wife, Janet, said.
Every aspect adds a little something to Nuckolls' understanding of golf; each round represents a lesson.
"He's so open to learning, he thinks he can still go out there and learn something every time," Janet said. "I think that's part of success in life: You have to be willing to keep learning something every day."
Perhaps nothing could prepare Nuckolls for the tree-lined fairways at Sahalee.
"The trees are so big and so close together. I've never seen anything like it," Nuckolls said by phone. "There's no chance of going over them. Everything is going to be single file down the fairway."
Accuracy will be vital, which should favor Nuckolls' steady ball-striking skills. He says his only expectation this weekend is to do his best.
And maybe his finish doesn't really matter. Golf can be a pretty addicting game. And Nuckolls will be back for more.
"Every time I get to that first tee box it's like a new journey," Nuckolls said. "You just want to make the best of it and then set yourself up for the next one."
When: 9:35 a.m. (Central Time) tee off on Thursday; 2:50 p.m. (Central Time) tee off on Friday.